Bruce Bartlett: Won’t Somebody Please Love Me?

Poor Bruce Bartlett.  He’s spent his career trying to be loved, and it just ain’t happening. First he was a Ron Paulian. Then he realized his career would be better served by jumping on the supply-side train. Then he ditched that to jump onto (yes) the Obama train. He was received with yawns instead of huzzahs.

Bob Wenzel reports that Bartlett was just on CNBC (1) claiming the Fed is “sitting on its hands,” (2) calling for massive public-works spending, (3) saying there is no problem with Social Security, (4) saying businessmen who claim they are concerned about government regulations are “full of crap,” and (5) arguing that we need “a little bit of inflation.”

I had a public exchange with Bruce last year that began when he ridiculed Bob Murphy for wanting to debate Paul Krugman; how could Murphy be anybody if Bartlett, who holds a master’s degree in history from Georgetown, hadn’t heard of him?  The thrust of the exchange went like this:

Woods: Bob, the fact that poor Bruce “I voted for Obama, now will you people please love me?” Bartlett hasn’t heard of you means only that you don’t travel in his circles, which is a good thing. Perhaps you could ask him to comment on your interest-rate work [“Unanticipated Intertemporal Change in Theories of Interest”] from NYU. I’m sure it’d be one golden insight after another.

Bartlett: Feel free to e-mail me a list of all your publications in peer-reviewed journals. You too Tom. And as far as I am concerned, the Journal [sic] of Austrian Economics doesn’t count.

Woods: Will get to it, Bruce. For starters, this book published by Columbia University Press got some nice reviews. How many Ivy League presses have published your books?

And where are your academic publications?

Woods: I can’t believe I am having an argument over credentials with a non-Ph.D. whose claim to fame is that he held some low-level federal positions….

Bartlett: I posted my academic papers on my FB page.

Woods: I count maybe three journals of significance on that list, and you have the nerve to look down at others? If that were my 30-year publication record I’d shut my mouth, not pick fights….

Bartlett: It’s better than most Austrians that I am familiar with. Most can’t get published anywhere except in the Review of Austrian Economics.

Woods: Bruce, are you familiar with Peter Klein? Here’s his cv.  As for a publication record, I can’t believe you gave people a hard time and then trotted out that cv! Bob Murphy has been published in most of those publications, too, and he’s also had two articles in the Journal of the History of Economic Thought, refereed by Paul Samuelson. PAUL SAMUELSON. He’s also just over half your age. Is that good enough for you, commissar?

My scholarly publication record is far more substantial than yours, especially given that you are at least 20 years my senior. So you can drop the nonsense about what a crank I am, etc….

To everyone else: all of you know I am not the boastful sort. But Bartlett, a petty, envious middle-aged man who spends his time insulting people half his age on Facebook, needed to be put in his place good and hard. His smear tactics are completely indefensible [Bartlett had been calling me names], and he needed to be smacked down. That mission is now accomplished.

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  • P_drummer3

    Yeah like the Keyesian economist who thing they know economics

  • jaffi411

    Tom, I must admit that I had never even heard of Bruce Bartlett until you brought him up. 

    I was curious, I noticed that his Master Thesis was on Pearl Harbor and that one of his advisors was Percy Greaves-  have you read this thesis?   Is it any good?  The reason that I ask is that I have Greaves’ posthumous book ‘Pearl Harbor’, and although I have not read it in its entirety, I was considering doing just that (after I finally finish ‘Conceived In Liberty’).  While I am used to reading BIG books, most people that I know aren’t.  I guess what I should really be asking is if Greave’s book is any good, and also if Bartlett’s thesis does any justice to it?

  • jaffi411

    Wow, that is crazy.  My question to you was somehow filed right next to another comment made 2 days prior, exactly answering my very question to you.  

    How’d you do that?  

  • Stephen Sniegoski

    was a mild revisionist (in his book), as was, I think, Greaves in his later days.  The following is my review of the books on the
    revisionist interpretation of Pearl Harbor.

  • jaffi411

    Thank you, Mr. Sniegoski.  I’ll have to check your review out.